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January 2013

Taking a Backseat

Traveling with younger kids is hard, trust me, I know.  Our minivan has plenty of battle scars -- not to mention, unidentifiable stains, which will stay that way, because, seriously, I don't even WANT to know!

I am STILL finding petrified food, circa 2006.  

My husband, Garth (not his real name) refers to the minivan as the S.S. Movable Feast, ever since the ant infestation...that ONE time...and who knew ants have a very keen sense for fishy crackers, right?!?

[sound of crickets, chirping]

I have clocked in a lot of miles, driving kids to and from...well...everywhere and spent countless number of hours...sitting in traffic...or fighting my way through parking lots, sometimes ALL in the same day.

I grew accustomed to it, pretty quickly, and often times would steal a brief glimpse of my kids in the rear view mirror, staring at the back of my head or slumped in their car seats, fast asleep.  

I also became quite adept at back-handing them their juice boxes (fishy crackers, not so much) while we discussed real meaning of life sort of stuff.

Like, what happens when you hold your nose, fart and sneeze at the same time?  Would your brain ooze out of your ears or your eyes bleed boogers?

The answer, by the way, is:  not yet.

My kids grew up in our minivan (me too!) and, now that my oldest is driving and with the middle girl applying for her learner's permit this spring (HOLD ME!), I am slowly beginning to get used to the idea of not having to drive...especially, if I really don't want to...sort of.

View from the backseat

Today, I feel it safe to say:  traveling with grown kids is even harder, because this is what happens when your 14 year-old reaches 6 feet on the measuring wall.

Guess I should start getting used to this view, eh?

© 2003 - 2013 This Full House

© This Full House 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Must Remember, Don't Call Him Baby

My son turned 14, this week.  The same kid who was 4 and just entering pre-school for the first time when I started blogging.  So, forgive me but, I'm going to sit here and let that sink in for a few seconds.


There, much better.  Wait, seems I'm not quite finished, not yet.


Seriously, kids grow, they get older (as do we, dammit) and so we carry on, as most parents do.  We live our lives and try really hard not to injure, maim or otherwise harm each other (too badly), business as usual, right?!?

So, you think I would get over myself and quit getting baybeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees are soooooooooooooooo grown, already.

Not the baby!
Still, he IS my only son and I am getting better at realizing that my baby...ahem, I mean that guy up probably much more interested in impressing a girl and more likely to be embarrassed by his mother.

My girls, not so much.

The night of his birthday, we ALL decided to go to my son's wrestling meet -- much to his surprise, too.  His sisters don't usually enjoy watching middle-schoolers getting their faces planted into some 8th grader's armpit, they're funny like that.

Me?  I cover my eyes.  Much less painful to watch.

[sound of crickets, chirping]

Aaaaaanyway, we piled onto the last remaining bleacher (who knew middle school wrestling was SO popular, eh?) and settled ourselves directly in front of a bunch of 8th grade girls.

I learned a few very important lessons, that night.  For example, 8th grade girls today:

  • Have no trouble dropping the f-bomb
  • Especially, in front of OTHER parents
  • And their teachers
  • Very, very LOUDLY
  • 8th grade girls are NOT like I remember

Long story, short (you're welcome!)  they stayed long enough to watch one of their boyfriends wrestle and then left.

 [cue choir of angels]

Aaaaand, it's not just me...shaking my virtual cane, older girls were enraged...EN-friggin-RAGED...because, apparently, one of them happened to mention her interest in my son.

Noooooo, I didn't hear it, because I'm observant like that and I was too busy covering my eyes.

Later, on the drive home, the girls were describing the 8th graders to my son and it suddenly occurred to me:   they were actually interrogating their brother.

"Soooooo, did you, like, you know, recognize any of them, or anything?!?"

You know, so as to gauge his interest in the possibility of ever, ever, NEVER dating one of them (EVER!) and his sisters were being much, much more subtle about it than I would have.

"Nope, those girls are stupid."

[sound of angels, weeping]

I'm not sure if my son was being casual, or evasive about it (he's 14, enough said) either way, I quickly interjected something about individual maturity levels developing at different rates...yada, yada, yada...when what I was really saying is "DAMN SKIPPY!" in my head, anyway.

"Nope, they're just stupid."

At least, this week anyway.

"Aaaaand, one of them just texted me."

 [one beat, two beats]

"How the HECK did she get my number?"

Even longer story, shorter (seriously, almost done!) here's something else I learned:

  • 8th grade girls have no problem asking a boy, for ANOTHER boy's number.

Aaaaaand, then send derogatory texts to that same boy...when they are dissed...while he is STILL in the car...with his mother.  So, forgive me but, I'm going to sit here and let that sink in for minute.


There, much better.  Wait, seems I'm not quite finished, not yet.

Texting:  oh, sorry, this is his mom, he left his cell phone in the car again, but I'll be glad to give him the message and please be sure to say hello to your mother for me. Kbai.

NOW, I'm done.

© 2003 - 2013 This Full House

© This Full House 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

A Girls Night, Inside Out!

We attended a family get-together a few years ago, to commemorate the passing of Garth's (not his real name) Uncle, and -- although we very rarely get the chance to visit with Buzz and Lucy -- we saw it as an opportunity to introduce our kids to another branch of their family.

All in all, considering the circumstances and even though I managed to back our minivan into a decorative boulder (I swear, the size of my youngest, dammit!)  it turned out to be a really lovely late-summer day and we were all a little sad to go.

Until, my Cousin-in-Law insisted that we come back for Christmas (yes, even AFTER my breaking their driveway!) and, well, one or more of us may or may not have volunteered to help clean up and perhaps know...until then, or maybe even for forever.

Her home is a beauty to behold and I say that without a speck of jealousy.

Envy, YES!    Still, for as expansive as the house really is (their wine cellar is bigger than my bedroom, no joke!) warmth and joy, not to mention their ability to make family and friends feel very, very special, emit from every square inch of their home.

Cousins Weekend Table
All this for a girls night in, see what I mean?!?

My sister-in-law and I were invited back up for a girls-night-in, last weekend.  We had a really great time, got our toes done, did a little window-shopping afterward, got into our pajamas (guess whose idea THAT was, go ahead, I'll wait) and then we ALL settled in for the night with two of my MOST favorite things:  tapas and wine.

Later, we retreated into her gourmet kitchen, making sure to keep as far away from the pretties and breakables as possible (okay, mostly me) and then we whipped up Aunt Lucy's recipe for homemade cauliflower mac and cheese.

Aaaaaand, I was feeling all sorts of warm and cozy, until...rumble...gurgle...blurp...OH NO!!!

"Excuse me, but I'm going to have to say goodnight."

[eyes go wide]

"I seemed to have hit a wall." 

However, I managed to make it upstairs, before my insides decided to turn our girls-night-in...inside out.

I was sick for the rest of the night and you would NEVER have known it (I mean, seriously, you can hear the dog pass gas from the other side of our house) until the next morning.

Even longer story, short (you're welcome) my Cousin-in-Law was all sorts of gracious, feeding me antacids and pain-relievers for breakfast, helping me feel less and less like a dork by the minute, and even invited me back for another sleepover.

"Why don't you bring the kids, next time, too."

Because, you know, they have a much pickier pallet and maybe then I would think twice before a dumbass.

Note to Self:  Never...EVER...mix goat cheese, cauliflower and smoked artichoke hearts with Pinot Grigio.

Well, at least I did NOT break anything...right?!?

[sound of crickets, chirping]

Stupid smoked artichoke hearts, dumbass Pinot Grigio.

© 2003 - 2013 This Full House

© This Full House 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

It's All Fun and Games, Until the Clowns Show Up

photo credit:

I have suffered from insomnia for most of my life (yes, that is a very long time, I know, shuddup!)  however, rather than fight it, I see it as a gift and make all of those extra sleepless hours as productive as possible.


Bwahahahahahahaha...I crack myself seriously did NOT think I was serious, seriously, right?!?

The ONLY thing productive at dark o'clock is the gerbil, running its eleventy-hundreth little iron gerbil marathon, inside my head.

It's not like I'm not tired, either.  In fact, my body clock quits work sometime around 4 in the afternoon and my eyes punch out no later than that really, really great television series EVERYBODY has been talking about and I've been dying to watch...DAMMIT.

For example:  last night, there was something on television I wanted to watch (of course I can't remember, for the life of me, what it was, but that's not really all that important at his juncture of my insomnia story)  so, I went upstairs to get my glasses.

I had to lie across the bed to reach them.  Aaaaaand, well, I never got up.  Or, came back downstairs.  Until I had to go pee at dark o'clock.

Did I mention, our bathroom is downstairs and way across the OTHER end of the house?!?

By the time I got back upstairs, the gerbil inside my head had already finished with its warm-up exercises and I began to rearrange the ENTIRE floor plan (of the house, not my head)  in my head.

So, I did what any red-blooded insomniac would do:  I hit Facebook...HARD!...and a really funny  (not ha-ha-funny, but more like, hmmmmm...interesting)  thing occurred to me.

I am NOT the only one awake at dark o'clock.  I see Kim, Jenn and Elizabeth.  

That reminds me.  Does anyone remember the magic mirror?!?  Gosh, but I used to LOVE that show.  Even though the magic mirror NEVER saw me...DAMMIT!

[sound of crickets, chirping]

I see Robyn.  Oh, and I see my friend Lisa...YO!!!!...was up at the SAME exact time I am, right now.

"If asleep by 9, awake at 3:39." Did Ben Franklin write that...

So, I commented with something like, good morning, because I am ALL witty AND original like that, especially at dark o'clock.

"Hi Liz!  I wish I could vacuum..."

And then I snorted...REALLY LOUD...and, well, I better go before Garth (not his real name) wakes up and I have to pretend like it was the house farting, or something...SNORT!!!



© 2003 - 2013 This Full House

© This Full House 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Sometimes at night, I can still hear Karma laughing

I have a pretty good sense of humor about stuff, to the point of annoying other folks (or possibly even scaring a couple of children)  into silence while thinking, "What IS that woman grinning about?!?"

Then again, I live in Jersey, it's probably more like, "Wha'chew lookin' at?!?"

[one beat, two beats]


[sound of crickets, chirping]

Aaaaanyway, I can't help it, it's like there is a sitcom playing in an infinite loop, in my head.

Frankly, with 3 teens, 1 pretty much teen, and sometimes even other people's kids hanging around, there is almost ALWAYS stuff going on and, well, I would much rather consider all my maniacial laughing as an effective defense mechanism.

For example, this morning.  Long story, short (you're welcome):

  • Middle girl missed her bus
  • Her school is at least a 30 minute drive
  • Because, in Jersey, we calculate the time it takes to get somewhere, rather than mileage
  • Oldest needed my car and leave for work by 8:00 a.m.
  • My husband needed his car back to leave for work by 8:15 a.m.
  • It is now 7:15 a.m.

[cue maniacial laughing]

Aaaaand, apparently, it's hereditary, as we drove past a broken down school bus on the highway.

Daughter:  You know what would be REAL funny?
Me:  If that was YOUR bus?
Daughter:  EXACTLY!!!!
Both: Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!

[blank stare]

Wha'chew lookin' at, Willis?!?  I mean, really, this IS the part of my story, where you begin to feel really, really lucky, about your NOT being able to see inside my head.

"You left your purse in my car, I saw it when I got to work."

See what I mean?!?  Seriously, you could ALMOST hear the "sad trombone" AND Karma laughing, right?!?

"Guess I'm stuck here at home...all by myself...oh darn (grin!)"

My husband still hasn't texted me back.  Poor guy, must have left his sense of humor at home.

© 2003 - 2013 This Full House 

© This Full House 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Good Night, Miss Gracie

Miss Grace
A view of Miss Grace, outside my kitchen window.

Our next door neighbor passed away, last week.  She was 104 years-old.  Although everyone who knew Miss Grace would agree that she had indeed lived a full life and perhaps not be at all surprised by her passing, I can't help but feel sad, knowing that her house sits empty and looks even more abandoned than usual.

I still remember meeting Miss Grace for the first time.  It was a few days after we moved in, I was pregnant with our oldest, I waddled down the small hill that separated our properties and asked if her dog bites.

She leaned forward in her lawn chair and answered, "Not if I don't go and tell her to."

It's then I learned that her dog Sheba was very old, probably had less teeth than Miss Grace (according to Miss Grace) and that she would be the last dog that Miss Grace would ever have to bury.

Needless to say, Miss Grace was indeed "a font of interesting anecdotes," to quote my friend Donna via Facebook.

So, forgive me if I begin to burp up a few stories and Miss Grace-isms, here and there, like the time she chased a couple of hooligans, who were bombing her house with pears, away from her pear tree...with her favorite rake.

Stories of Miss Grace are known to nearly every family to have settled in our town, having lived here all her life and the scourge of the neighborhood children...some 50 or so years earlier.

"I never did take no nevermind, to no youngins."

She raised her children and countless numbers of others of the families she worked for and, well, even my kids learned pretty early:  you best be on your best behavior around Miss Grace, or risk a phone call home to your mother.

Most of all, Miss Grace will always be remembered as enjoying working in her yard.  She mowed her own lawn up until her knees "turned bad" around the time she turned 100.  True story.  Still, it was ding-danged difficult to keep up with the woman.

Lawnmower Mom was my first published article, outside of this blog, back in 2004 and it too was inspired by Miss Grace, along with many more blog posts, some of my favorites being:

All that's left now is the house next door, which I am afraid will be razed to make room for many more (her property is even larger than ours) and I can't help but feel...well...sort of like I have just finished the last chapter of a very good novel.

Which reminds me, I once asked Miss Grace if she remembered the famous shark attacks, here in town!  She did.  I then questioned whether she knew that they also inspired Peter Benchley to write "Jaws".

Her response:  "I never had me no time, for no books!"

She was too busy, living one.  I wonder if I will ever stop looking for her, outside my kitchen window.  Bless you, and your rake, Miss Grace.

© 2003 - 2013 This Full House

© This Full House 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

The Strip (A Vlog)


Because, some blog posts require a visual and I would like for Melisa to be least once...dammit!!!  

WARNING:  Although there is no nudity (seriously, my kids read this crap)  you still may want to make sure any small children are NOT around, or risk their screaming, "Make the scary lady stop," you're welcome!!!

P.S.:  Aaaaaand, I see now that the captions are ALL wrong (they're showing up, too early) so, I guess you'll have to watch it again, but fast-forward it in your head, to keep up with the captions...or not...because, I am a dork.

© 2003 - 2013 ThisFullHouse

© This Full House 2003-2019. All rights reserved.